Chris Rea Concert at the Hammersmith Apollo
April 5th 2012 - Support Act Nell Bryden.

Whenever I travel I always check local concert listings and to my surprise Chris Rea was on at the Apollo during a recent visit to London.

Chris has been active since the mid seventies and hold to his name hits such as “Road to Hell”, “Josephine” and “On the Beach” just to name a few.

An accomplished guitarist who blends catchy riffs with soaring slide work, Chris is known as much for his rock infused tracks as his mellow ballads or jazzy mid-tempo numbers.

Also well known is his signature Stratocaster which has followed him during his career.

Support Act – Nell Bryden

From Brooklyn, New York, Nell put on a superb set just by herself. Armed only with her acoustic guitar she belted out tracks from her current album “What Does It Take”, plus a preview track from “Buildings and Treetops” from her new upcoming album “Shake the Tree” to be released shortly.

A powerful, melodic and sentimental performance which was greatly appreciated and responded to by the packed Apollo theatre. Actually on this point Nell joked that last time she was at the Apollo she came to see Willie Nelson and that her presence on the same stage herself was a big thrill.

Once her set was over Nell announced that she would be happy to meet any audience members and sign her latest CD, an offer which many took up including myself. We hope to review Nell’s new CD in the new near future.

Headliner - Chris Rea

After the break Chris came on at 8.30 pm sharp.  Amongst sweeping lights, and low thunderous synth notes, he burst into “The Last Open Road” from his Santo Spirito album, to an immense applause from the crowd. A high energy track with a catchy riff, intermingled with intricate slide work.

This was followed by a mix of new and old tracks to include “Josephine “and “Julia” each with different live arrangements. Other stand out tracks for me where “Stainsby Girls”, and of course his biggest hit “Road to Hell” with the complete “Part 1” introduction.

For the encore the band was introduced to a basically arranged version of “On the Beach” to finish off with “Let's Dance” and “It’s All Gone”

To be honest I greatly enjoyed the overall concert experience, sound and mix of old and new songs.

However, I did think that some songs like “Road to Hell” and “Let’s Dance” where way too fast and the intricate chord work in “On the Beach” (My favourite Chris Rea track) was over simplified.

Gear wise Chris seems to be using a number of different guitars other than his trademark strat known as “pinky”. I also spotted a Telecaster Thinline, a Strat with double humbuckers,  as well as the red Hofner Colorama and a sparkle blue Italia guitar.

His rhythm guitarist was using Musicman guitars.

Overall a great concert.

By Ernest H Slade

Set List

The Last Open Road
Work Gang
Where the Blues Come From
Easy Rider
'Til the Morning Sun Shines on My Love and Me
Looking for the Summer
Stony Road
Come So Far, Yet Still So Far to Go
Somewhere Between Highway 61 & 49
Stainsby Girls
The Road to Hell (Part 1)
The Road to Hell (Part 2)


On the Beach
Let's Dance
It's All Gone